Updated: Nov 25, 2018
Review : T800 Guardian ("Pops" 2017 Version) NECA, Terminator Genisys Wave/Series : N/A Released : January 2016
Price : £19.99
The "Pops" T800 Terminator is the 3rd, and likely final, figure that NECA have released from the 2015 Terminator Genisys movie.
Like the preceding two figures, the 1984 T800 and the T1000 in Police Disguise, Pops arrives in a red themed box with display window to show off the figure. The top two thirds of the box reflect a future war scene, with T800 Endoskeleton's stalking a futuristic landscape. The lower third of the box front is a gloss black panel in which is the Endoskeleton head logo and the character name, specifically in this case the T800 Guardian. The exact same wording comes on the younger version.
The red background extends round both sides of the box and round onto the back where a large Hunter Killer joins the scenery in the top right corner. A black flash on the right hand of the box back encloses a paragraph which details the description, strengths and weaknesses of a T800, this is the same wording as the younger 1984 T800 Guardian. At the base of the box are the other "also available" figures - in this case the younger guardian and the T1000. Under this are three different images of the Pops figure showing different combinations of the figure using the inbox parts.
Out of the box and Pops is presented against a grey card insert and comes packed with an alternative head, arm stump and a shotgun.
Pops stands at 7 1/4" high, and this is a tad taller than the Ultimate Terminator that was released just before Xmas. I don't mind that too much as they won't really be displayed together - but it seems odd that after years of making Schwarzenegger as the Terminator NECA still adjust his height from figure to figure.
This is a very very good looking figure. When I first saw the Genisys figures I thought they looked a little cheap considering they were from NECA, but in hand they stand up robustly to any other NECA release and in fact this Pops figure has arguably the best Schwarzenegger head to date, beating the aforementioned Ultimate T2.
Pops comes with two heads, one standard and one damaged. Both are beautifully presented and painted to perfection, in fact the NECA painters should go and show the Hasbro painters how to do greying hair as if we could replicate this on the Episode 7 Han Solo we would all be very happy. The damaged head has the extra detail with the Endoskeleton skull exposed on the left hand side as you look at it. The sculpt has given the depth to this damage so you the skull is set back from the level of the face, something other Terminator figures have not quite captured. If I had one issue with the heads is that is is quite tough to swap them out, it shouldn't really be a battle to swap heads on a figure that has been designed with that very feature.
The outfit, which looks quite plain in the box, is bursting with detail. The coat is a multi-pocketed afair with varying ribbed panels on the shoulders and arms. It's cast in a dark black colour, but has some level of paint wash to give a shine to some raised areas and each button shines when you turn the figure in the light. Under the jacket is a grey t-shirt and in the middle of this is another damaged area with both the cloth and skin ripped and more silver Endoskeleton on display underneath. And if that damage isn't enough, you can swap out Pops' left arm with the damages stump. Now if you think the head was tough to swap, then the arm is even more stubborn and you will risk breaking the figure if you don't boil Pops in hot water first, or heat him up with a hair-dryer. Again this is a frustrating element of a figure that was designed to have swap out parts. The arm stump itself is well done, and doesn't do much other than plug the hole once in. Like the other damaged parts it is nicely detailed, and gory with metallic parts showing underneath the flesh.
Trousers are grey cargo pants, sculpted with folds and creases in the cloth and with intricate stitching around the pockets and down the side seams. The outfit is finished with a pair of boots, which look plain black but are actually really detailed up close with laces and panels sculpted on top of a different coloured sole and with real tread sculpted underneath. It is therefore frustrating when you see that detail to spin the figure round and see a significantly different coloured joint on the knee - a black plastic against the dark grey of the trousers?
Articulation is standard fair for a NECA figure. The head is on a peg/ball jointed mechanism so either head have the ability to rotate fully and then adjust up and down and to the side, this gives some character to poses where you can cock Pops head to one side, or have him looking down menacingly.
The arms are ball jointed and can rotate round and then out to the side by about 45 degree. The left arm, due to it's swappable joint, is a little less manoeuvrable than the right. Elbows rotate and bend to another 45 degree angle and then the wrists rotate and also pivot on their peg within the restrictions of the sleeve.
A waist joint sits under the shirt and there is a fair bit of movement on this so you can swivel Pops off to either side to perhaps have him in a firing position with his shotgun. Knees, which are beautifully concealed at the front (less so on the back as we have discussed) bend almost 90 degrees, and with the ball jointed hips above them you can essentially get Pops to kneel, crouch or even sit - all quite awkwardly, but the range of movement is there. The final joint is on the shoes/ankles which can rotate to adjust Pops stance. With such a heavy set figure, and heavy in terms of the plastic used, you will have no trouble getting Pops to stand.
Pops comes with just the one weapon, a futuristic shotgun with shoulder strap. This fits into either hand, but more snugly in the right. Sadly, because of the way the hand grip has been designed and the angle of the but on the gun, Pops can only hold this pointing down, almost as though he is about to load it. Stick the arm out straight to fire, and the gun looks like it is cocked down in his hand, and if you spin the elbow to put it in a two handed grip, it just can't be done as the gun doesn't sit out straight enough, nor does the elbow bend enough, to get the barrel into the left hand.
What ever you think of Genisys as a film, this is a really good Arnie / Terminator figure. The box doesn't do the figure justice, and neither does the promotional images - something that is usually the other way round. You need to get this thing out and in hand to appreciate it fully.
Had it not been for the tight swappable part and that frustrating gun position, Pops would have strolled away with a 5 star review. Instead he gets a very strong 4 and a place front and centre of my Terminator archive.